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Quarantine Chronicles May 15, 2020

Quarantine Fatigue Last week I was crawling out of my skin.  I felt depressed, but nothing was wrong. In fact, I’m fortunate. Everyone I know is safe, and my family still has a source of income. Meanwhile, millions of others have lost their jobs, suffered through sickness and the death of loved ones, or have been forced to surrender to a drive-by celebration of much-anticipated milestones like graduations and weddings. I had none of those things. How can I be depressed? Quarantine fatigue is an actual thing.  Despite the decimation of the usual routine of my days and weeks, up until this last week, I was fine. Still, for no rhyme or reason, I felt edgy, ready to lose my sh*t. Lumped on top of that, was a sense of guilt for not having a legitimate reason to feel this way. The mind and emotions are complex. Alone with our thoughts, we get caught up in our own narratives. This is why, in part, socialization and community is important to us. According to a study by the
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Quarantine Chronicles April 24, 2020

Inward Thinking At a time when we are secluded with the same few people every day—or some of us, alone—we spend a lot of time looking inward. I’m an advocate for self-reflection and improvement, but it’s an important time to consider how others may be dealing with this crisis. Someone with an autoimmune disease is stuck home unable to do much; afraid they will get deathly sick. Someone is battling with depression, fighting a silent uphill battle since the first day of mandatory social distancing. A teacher struggles to learn how to instruct their class virtually and are finding themselves the target of overwhelmed parents’ anger. So many of our neighbors are navigating a new work-from-home situation that is less than optimal. Many are no longer working at all. Lovers are separated. Grandparents haven’t been able to hug their grandchildren. Sadly, some have experienced the loss of a loved one, or celebrated a birthday or a special milestone while isolated from those closest to t

Quarantine Chronicles April 17, 2020

End of an Era My mother’s sister, my Aunt Roseann, passed away on Monday. She was 84. On my mother’s Italian side of the family, there are four sisters and one brother. As expected of women of that day, my mother and her sisters took care of their homes, husbands and children, but these matriarchs were far from domesticated wallflowers. They were always fiercely opinionated, and along with my 87-year-old mother, Aunt Roseann spoke her mind. When I was little my aunt often called me ‘foonge face.’ Apparently, she called my older sister the same thing. I guess we weren’t the happiest kids in those formative years, but despite a nickname we never warmed to, we have many great memories that include my aunt. Compared to now, the mid-to-late 70s were lean times. Families were larger, and lower, middle-class ones like mine did with less. As kids, we never felt the pinch. Spending time together made up what we lacked in money. My greatest memories were of family gatherings: noisy holidays

Quarantine Chronicles April 16, 2020

Story Sex I don’t like gratuitous sex scenes in movies or what I read. Now, I’m not slamming anyone who enjoys a bit of voyeurism to get the engine primed, but those vamped up scenarios have a specific goal—and a specific audience. Sex scenes within the framework of a literary story are a horse of another color. When I’m engaged in a story, I want the physical action between the characters to mean something. I want their carnal relationship, their chemistry, their emotional connection, or lack of one, to tell me something about them as a couple, and as individuals. Done with intent, authors can use a character’s behavior in the bedroom as a creative avenue for character development, an intimate place to reveal either truths or falsehoods.

New book on the way!

Take an entertaining ride through the countryside of Italy along with Edward, a first-time traveller. At the dying bequest of his grandmother, Eddie Rudack embarks on a trip to Positano Italy to find a family member he's never met. A stranger in a foreign land, he meets a beautiful Italian doctor who offers to help Eddie with his quest. With the beautiful doctor as his personal guide, Eddie will explore the Italian countryside, see the enduring work of the Renaissance masters, sample the traditional, delicious fare of the regions, and form lasting personal connections with a cast of quirky characters for which the likes he's never known. He'll rediscover his life's passion, fall in love, and in the course of it all, find Edward.

A New Look!

Saving Toby & Keeping Claudia have all new covers! What's New: Eye-catching new illustrated covers. Newly formatted interiors for all versions, both paperback and ebook.  Revised chapters in Keeping Claudia. The first six chapters were professionally re-edited to provide a smoother, more enjoyable reading experience. Each book features a new step-back photograph inside the cover.  Click here for Saving Toby on Amazon Click here for Keeping Claudia on Amazon Click here to view on Barnes &

Total Hot Toddy

Photo  by  Giulia Forsythe Warm drink for a cold season It's wintertime here in New York. With temps at or below freezing most days, my hands are perpetually cold. I don't want to hold an iced drink and I want to drink one even less. When I'm relaxing after a long day, I want a hot drink that will warm me all over. Hot toddy fits the bill. A little bit of history  If you think the hot toddy is an old-fashioned drink, you'd be right. While no one seems to know exactly when and where it was first created, the hot toddy is rumored to have origins in 1700 Scotland, where pubs in Edinburgh diluted whiskey with hot water and honey to cure colds. Others claim it was created by Irish doctor Robert Bently Todd to ward off illness. Still others claim the hot toddy dates back to India during the 1600s. Wherever it came from, it certainly has a long history. Is a Hot Toddy medicinal?  There is no cure for the common cold, but the mixture of honey, lemon and a shot